WDC Final

January Newsletter  - Volume 5, Issue 4



Social Media Update --- We're on Twitter! 

Political Book Club

Volunteers: It Takes a Village 

Suggestion Box 


You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.     


Thanks to Beth Tomasello, Sybil Cantor, Teddi Pensinger, Linda Kolko, Carmela Cowgill, Lucy Freeman, Marcia Loeb and Bonnie Wicklund for their contributions to this newsletter.



Thursday, February 5


Campaign Finance Reform Program                        


7 PM to 9 PM

Silver Spring Civic Center

One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD




Think these three words, taken together, threaten our democracy? If so, come hear what three Maryland Democrats plan to do about it. Learn the details of their legislative proposals to return the power of elections to everyday people.


The speakers will be Representative Chris Van Hollen, Representative John Sarbanes, and District 20 State Senator Jamie Raskin.  Each of these speakers is sponsoring a Campaign Reform bill in the upcoming session as follows:  


        Representative Chris Van Hollen:  "Disclose Act"


         Representative John Sarbanes:  "Government by the People Act"


            State Senator Jamie Raskin "Shareholders United"



Please RSVP:Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.comor at 301-654-8115. If you need a ride, we will try to arrange one for you!



Thursday, February 12           


Happy Hour     Happy Hour Image

5:30 to 7 PM  

Lebanese Taverna

7141 Arlington Road, Bethesda


Want to meet new people and talk politics?  Join us at the next WDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.  




Hold the Date - Wednesday, February 25 - Dinner with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) 


Have you been upset over the conflicts between the police and the African American community over the past few months? Among us, who hasn't? Congressman Jeffries is a leading voice on the issue of police force in African American communities. Additional details will follow, but please mark your calendar now. Don't miss the chance to hear the Congressman's insights on this vitally important issue.  




Wednesday, February 17

Montgomery County Young Democrats Affordable Housing Program

7:00 to 8:30pm

Silver Spring Civic Center

1 Veterans Place

Silver Spring, MD 20910


Special Guests Include:

Councilmember Marc Elrich
Planning Board Member Natali Faní-González


Please click here for more information.  




Thursday, February 12   

4:30 - 6:30 PM.

President's Conference Center West, Miller Senate Office Building,  

1 Bladen St., Annapolis


Here is your opportunity to find out what's on the 2015 Legislative Agenda as well as to meet with your legislators to discuss women's issues. It's even FREE but you must register. Spaces are limited. Click here to register. Please be sure to bring a photo identification in order to enter the Senate building. You'll find several parking garages near the Senate building, as well as metered parking throughout Annapolis. You also may park at Navy Stadium and take the shuttle to the Miller Senate Office Building. For more information, email mdlegagenda4women@yahoo.com

or call 443-519-1005.





Sunday, February 23

12:30 - 3:00 PM

Bethesda North Marriott and Conference Center

5701 Marinelli Road

North Bethesda, MD


This year's brunch will be headlined by Mary Beth Cahill, Director of the Washington Office and National Political Director of the United Auto Workers. Ms. Cahill, one of the nation's top political strategists, served as campaign director for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, as assistant to the President and director of the Office of Public Liaison in the Clinton White House, chief of staff for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and director of EMILY'S List.She is a renowned authority and speaker on progressive issues, including women and politics, social justice, diversity, and grassroots organizing. Please click here to RSVP by Monday, February 9. WDC will have tables at the brunch--if you would like to sit with WDC members, please indicate your choice of seating when you RSVP and also email Beth Tomasello at bethtomasello@rcn.com .  For questions, contact the MCDCC office at montgomerydems@msn.com or 301-946-1000.








Congressman John Delaney spoke to the Club on Tuesday, January 20, and engaged members on a wide range of issues from the economic dislocation of the American middle class, the need for free Pre-K through college education, the benefits of infrastructure investments, and detailed and informed reasons for his votes in the new Congress.  Look for complete reporting on Congressman Delaney's informative presentation in the Club's February newsletter."  







                                                                                 by Beth Tomasello


On Sunday, January 25, the Montgomery County Commission for Women hosted the 35th
Ginger Macomber, Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Carmela Cowgill, and Almina Khorakiwala at Briefing.
annual Women's Legislative Briefing (WLB). The theme of this year's WLB was "Build the World You Want through Advocacy and Legislation." The Briefing emphasized organizing and coalition building and activism and advocacy as the keys to changing laws and policies affecting women and their families.


The Briefing opened with welcoming remarks by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congressman John Sarbanes, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and the first woman County Executive in Maryland, Jan Gardner, Frederick County Executive. C. Gail Bassette, Secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services, spoke on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan. Bassette was the first representative any Governor of Maryland has sent to the WLB in its 35-year history.


Each welcoming speaker emphasized the need for breakthroughs on issues vital to women's economic security: pay equity, paid sick leave, affordable child care, tax equity, and equal opportunity in business lending for women entrepreneurs. The speakers highlighted county, state and federal initiatives advancing women's economic security and stressed the need for more women in political office to strengthen women's voices. County Executive Leggett stated that he believes that women "are on the threshold of change," a sentiment expressed by many of the elected officials. All of the welcoming speakers stressed the importance of women's continued organizing and citizen advocacy to push women's economic issues to the forefront of the legislative agenda, to elect more women to public office, and to bring about change that will make a difference in the lives of all women, and particularly those struggling to support their families.


Keynote speaker Ann Lewis, former White House Communications Director for President Bill Clinton and close adviser to former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, traced the arc of political progress from the fight for women's suffrage, to the enactment of worker safety laws brought about by the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, and to the enactment of landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation of the 1960s. Lewis noted that, accomplishing these momentous legislative changes required broad-based coalitions of sometimes unlikely partners, and she suggested that progress on the women's economic agenda will require a similarly broad coalition of women and our allies, coupled with responsive political leadership.  


Lewis cited startling statistics illustrating women's continuing economic disadvantages. Women still earn only 78 cents for every $1.00 earned by a man for comparable work. That amounts to $400,000 over a woman's working lifetime. Women remain underrepresented both in the halls of Congress and in the higher echelons of corporate decision making. Despite studies showing that corporations with women on their boards are more profitable than corporations with all-male boards, women hold only 17% of corporate board positions. Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 26 (about 5%) have women CEOs. At the recent economic summit at Davos, which focused on economic issues of primary concern to women, women comprised only 17% of the attendees. Of even greater potential concern is the gender gap in business lending and venture capital investment. Although women are 61% more likely than men to own their own business, women receive a small fraction of business loans and venture capital funding. If women were funded in parity with our business ownership rates, woman-owned businesses would create 6 million jobs in just five years.


Lewis's solution: set an agenda and build a coalition around the issues vital to women's economic survival. Lewis urged WLB attendees to be a voice for women who could not attend the Briefing because they work long hours and are often caring for both children and elderly parents; for older women who need the protection of Social Security to ensure that they can live in dignity; and for younger women who need access to health care and equal pay.    


Following Lewis' remarks, participants attended a choice of seminars on seven topics addressing various aspects of advocacy, political empowerment, the women's economic security agenda, issues for immigrant women, and sexual violence and human trafficking. WLB also offered programs for teens to encourage engagement among new women voters and voters-to-be. WDC members were well represented among the panel's speakers and moderators, including State Senators Susan Lee and Rich Madaleno, State Delegates Aruna Miller, Kathleen Dumais, and Ariana Kelly, County Council President George Leventhal, Almina Khorakiwala, and Reggie Oldak.    


WDC congratulates the Montgomery County Commission for Women on a very successful 35th Anniversary Women's Legislative Briefing





INTERVIEW edited by Bonnie Wicklund 

Emily Shetty


As the Chair of the new Advocacy Committee of WDC, Emily Shetty is responsible for mobilizing our members on key local, state and federal advocacy priorities that impact women and families in Montgomery County.


Emily was born to immigrant parents and was raised by a single mother in High Point, North Carolina. Community service has long been a huge element of her life, as she began serving her community at age nine, ultimately receiving the local United Way's "Community Hero" award years later in 2001. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Duke University, Emily attended Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, while continuing her commitment to the community by co-founding a Young Professionals chapter of the Kiwanis Club in DC and serving as its first Director of Service. After graduating, Emily began her career on Capitol Hill working for Rep. Edolphus "Ed" Towns (D-NY), for whom she managed much of his domestic policy portfolio. After leaving Capitol Hill, Emily joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the head of federal legislative affairs, where she helped shepherd a crucial pediatric cancer funding bill through Congress. Emily is now a democratic political consultant for the Stanton Park Group where she advises healthcare clients on issues ranging from Medicare and FDA policy to coalition building.


In 2014, Emily ran for the Maryland House of Delegates in the District 18 Democratic primary, coming in fourth place of seven. She was endorsed by the Washington Post and several local groups, for her knowledge of the issues that impact the community. Emily and her husband Ash, a recently nationalized citizen, are new residents of Kensington (having moved from Wheaton in early January), and are parents to Zoey, a rescued Jack-Russell Terrier.



I read a lot of non-fiction in the political space for work, so I spend my spare time reading fiction. A really interesting article I read recently is in this month's edition of Politico Magazine, "The Secret History of Women in the Senate," by Liza Mundy. It's a truly interesting read, and highlights our great Senator Mikulski's work in unifying the Senate women's caucus. I also recently read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, a novel about a woman who has a minor accident and temporarily forgets the last decade of her life.



I am a little obsessed with "House of Cards", and am counting the days until season 3 is released on Netflix on February 27!



I love everything on NPR - from "Morning Edition" on my weekday commute to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" while on the way to weekend errands. Otherwise, I love the Hawaiian music channel on Pandora. It reminds me of a wonderful trip to the Big Island my husband and I took in 2010.



Other than Hawaii, my second favorite trip was last summer, after the campaign. My husband and I visited Santorini, where we hiked up a mountain, swam in hot springs, climbed to the highest peak of the island, watched the famous sunset, and were stampeded by a heard of donkeys on their way down to pick up tourists at the port.



I follow Ezra Klein for national news; Josh Kurtz for Maryland news; and Lou Peck for local news.



I am a huge fan of Senator Kirsten Gilibrand, for both her passion for various policies, and for her "Off the Sidelines" project where she encourages every woman to join the political debate and participate through voting and running for office.



Running for my first election in 2014 and watching the election returns come in on June 24, 2014 was nothing short of thrilling.



I believe that access to affordable, high quality education is critical, and that the student loan system needs to be seriously evaluated and reformed. Millions of students are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and it is crippling the middle class. The increasing cost of higher education will soon prevent entire generations of students from advancing their careers through education.





Time to renew All current members have received their renewal forms in the mail.  Please renew now!  Included in this mailing was a gift form which is new to our Club this year. Your gift membership to a friend is a great way to acknowledge a good Democrat and recognize the many opportunities that Club membership offers.  WDC appreciates your continuing support and wants to remind you that your dues were due on September 1. Your voice and membership dues are crucial to the vitality and strength of the Woman's Democratic Club. Your $35.00 dues ($36.00 online at www.womansdemocraticclub.org) pays for Club mailings; subsidizes events, programming, and the annual New Member dinner; and supports the important work of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and Democratic candidates with campaign contributions. All members who have not renewed as of February 1 will not be included in the 2015 Club directory and will no longer receive Club mailings.   Click here to renew or join now.







WDC has a Twitter account!  Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems.  Be sure to follow us!  


Don't forget to like us on Facebook; we're listed as Woman's Democratic Club, Montgomery County.

Want to learn more about what your fellow Democrats are reading about American or political Bookshistory? Join WDC's Political Book Club - our longstanding literary conclave that meets on the third Wednesday of every other month. Meetings take place at 1:30 p.m. at members' homes. A facilitator for each book leads the discussion. For more information, contact Estelle Stone at estellestone24@gmail.com .



Future selections include A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren on March 18, and Uncertain Justice :The Roberts Court and the Constitution by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz on May 20.  


If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.womansdemocraticclub.org and click on Political Book Club, which is listed under Events.  



 Help Wanted

Sharing your skills and expertise with us and joining a committee are fun ways to meet other members and make new friends while helping the Club accomplish its goals. We especially need volunteers to help with new member recruitment as part of the Membership & Outreach Committee and we need volunteers on the Legislative Committee to help analyze and track important legislation.


Click here to volunteer.




Suggestion Box  

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event?  If so, please send an e-mail to wdcmcmd@gmail.com.






 Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957      


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Woman's Democratic Club
Beth Tomasello.President
www.womansdemocraticclub.org     wdcmcmd@gmail.com
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator